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The Norton Herrick Center for Motion Picture Studies at the University of Miami School of Communication presents a special lecture on forgotten, controversial films with film historian Eric Schaefer, author of “‘Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!’: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959” at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, February 16, 20121, at UM’s Bill Cosford Cinema. The discussion is free and open to all.
The event features a rare look at low-budget films from the 1930s to the 1960s, including examples from the Norton Herrick Collection such as Ed Wood’s “Glen or Glenda”, “The Black King”, “Murder on Lenox Avenue”, “The Lonely Sex”, and “The Defilers”.
“This event offers a unique opportunity to reconsider certain neglected and often provocative films and to come to a new appreciation of their cultural and historical significance,” says Professor Christina Lane, Director of the Herrick Center. “The work of Eric Schaefer, who is a meticulous researcher and a terrific speaker, promises to help us better understand why particular subjects are censored, stigmatized, or marked as taboo.”
In this lecture, titled “High on Low: What We Can Learn from Low-Budget Films,” Schaefer will explain how and why scholars are increasingly exploring the rich world of low-budget, often forgotten, films, including such genres as “race films,” exploitation movies, grindhouse films, and other obscure cinematic forms. If, as has been said, “history is written by the victors,” then film history has largely been written by the artistically significant motion pictures, the critical darlings, and the big-budget blockbusters. But there is a growing understanding within the field of film studies of the urgent need to shed further light on our history and illuminate alternative motion picture practices.
Using clips from the Norton Herrick Collection, which houses an impressive number of these holdings, Schaefer will explore the realm of movies made outside the mainstream studio system. Whether they are odd, controversial, outrageous, or comically bad, low-budget films provide a unique take on what it means to “make a movie” and on the social climate in which they were made.
An internationally respected film historian, Schaefer is associate professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston. He has authored many articles about marginal films, with essays appearing most recently in the books “Learning with the Lights Off: Educational Films in the United States” and “The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film”.
A question & answer session follows the Feb. 16 lecture. A reception with refreshments takes place prior to the event at 6:30 p.m. For detailed directions to the Cosford Cinema, visit www.cosfordcinema.com/directions.
The Norton Herrick Center for Motion Picture Studies at the University of Miami is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge of the history, aesthetics, and social and cultural impact of motion picture media. Its goals are to provide support for research, to further the important work of preservationists and archivists, to facilitate the study and teaching of film at the University, and to enrich the intellectual and cultural life of the University and the South Florida community. For more information on the Center or the Norton Herrick Collection, please visit www.com.miami.edu.